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OECD considers steel market consolidation

IMF represents workers’ views on consolidation of steel industry at OECD meeting.

TURKEY: The steel committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) met on May 17 and 18 to discuss the latest trends in the steel industry and the likelihood of future consolidation.

Delegates heard how the steel industry is expanding worldwide and benefiting from increased demand from Asian economies, particularly India and China, which has driven a dramatic increase in the demand for steel globally. To date the steel industry is still fairly fragmented with the 15 largest steel companies combined producing 33 per cent of the steel globally compared with the automotive industry, for example, where the top 15 companies produce 87 per cent of the world market in 2005.

There has been an almost constant process of restructuring and rationalisation in the steel industry over the last few decades, however nearly half the industry still remains in public hands.

IMF director for steel Rob Johnston said to delegates at the OECD meeting that, “The transition from public to private ownership has been a difficult one, with workers often suffering as a consequence. The industry has also seen enormous gains in productivity as a result of restructuring but often the distribution of these gains has been very unequal.”

Tom Conway, Vice President of the USW, told delegates that, “despite a lot of people in the room talking about steel - not one of them physically produces it and that it’s the steelworkers themselves that should have a large say in the future of the industry”.

A copy of the IMF position and recommendations to the OECD on the steel industry is published on the IMF website.

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